TacyTraverso.com melds indie rock, Internet savvy
You could say Reno lies somewhere between Silicon Valley and Deadfish, Idaho, a fictional town techies refer to when describing a population that is low-tech and unimaginative. One area artist is trying to meld these two worlds in an innovative way, and locals seem to be embracing this unique fusion.
Her name is TacyTraverso.com. Yes, it’s a joke … sort of. A few bars have unwittingly killed the punch line by billing her simply as “Tacy Traverso.” Traverso isn’t laughing.
“To me, the ‘dot-com’ is really important, because what it says is, ‘duh—there’s a Web site to go to.’ And it’s funny,” she says.
Traverso describes the group as an “alternative indie rock band,” but also as an entity that is licensed to operate as a business in Reno. But she’s more of a visionary than a buzzword specialist. Think of a young Bill Gates, except that she rocks and she’s good-looking.
Traverso affords her rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle through her day job as a sales manager for Miller Heiman. She also signed with SierraRecords.com, a local company that sells Traverso’s songs in MP3 format over the Internet.
Besides Traverso on vocals and guitar, the band consists of one person: her brother, Gabriel, who plays bass. Trusting her brother to form the other half of her band was no problem, she explains.
“It’s as important to me as choosing who my lovers are, because music is more important to me than anything else, and if something goes down, I want someone around I can rely on,” she says. “Not only because he’s my brother, but because of the kind of guy he is. And I know where he lives.”
Traverso and her brother are ready to move in on the battle-born state, and they’ve got the military experience to back them up. Traverso explains matter-of-factly:
“You get a promotion when you bring someone else into the Army, so I got promoted when my brother joined. That’s why the band is so sparse, because I haven’t found a lot of people I would go into battle with, and if I won’t jump into a fox hole with somebody, I won’t be on stage with them.”
As far as the military’s “don’t-ask, don’t-tell” policy goes, Traverso’s tactical maneuvering on the subject of her homosexuality is similar to Sherman’s march to the sea. She’s not going around it—she’s going through it. When asked if there is a stigma attached to being a lesbian musician in Northern Nevada, Traverso fires away.
“Hell, no. If anything, it’s the opposite effect,” she says. “When somebody doesn’t like you, I don’t think they run up and tell you, ‘Hi, I don’t like you.’ But when people do like you, they want to share that communication.”
Not satisfied that the issue is completely contained in her kill zone, she shoots one more round between the eyes.
“And it’s definitely not part of my marketing plan to use that to my advantage or disadvantage, in the sense that I don’t want to be targeting one market,” she says. “I want everybody to enjoy it.”
And truthfully, it’s probably not the references to “butch dykes” in Traverso’s lyrics that draw a crowd. Traverso has a powerful stage presence and an endearing, often brash, sense of humor. The singer-songwriter’s passionate, commanding voice demands a comparison to P.J. Harvey, mixed with a little Ani DiFranco vulnerability and Sinatra “I gotta be me” style.
The band is working on new material but will still play old favorites, even if it triggers post-traumatic stress for Traverso.
“I was bitter and pissed off and heart-broken when I wrote some of those songs,” she says. “Some I don’t even like playing anymore, because I have to go to where I was when I wrote it to do it right … It’s like acting.
“If I don’t, it won’t be passionate. It won’t be real. I want it to be real."